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November is National Adoption Month!

img_1559November is National Adoption Month! All children need the support of a safe, permanent, and loving family. Achieving permanency in a timely manner should be the priority of our foster care system for children who cannot be reunified with their family. We decided to kick off the month by looking at some state facts and policies that tell us more about how to strengthen adoption as a permanency option for children in our state foster care system.

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  • 467 children were adopted in 2014
  • 123 children aged out without a forever family
  • 224 children exited into guardianships in 2014
  • Mean time from entry to adoption: 33.4 months
  • Older youth awaiting adoption are significantly less likely to find permanency through adoption than younger children
  • Children of color are disproportionately represented among those waiting to be adopted, while white children are more likely to exit out-of-home care to adoption

Policies that Work:

Engaging families to ensure that children find permanency in a loving home, especially children of color and older youth.

  • Utilizing the Family Finding model (LB 243 in 2015) to engage adult relatives and kin who can be a lifelong source of support for foster youth
  • Targeting recruitment of foster and adoptive parents to address the unique cultural and developmental needs of children in care

Supporting children and families to ensure that adoptive parents are adequately prepared to address the trauma of abuse and neglect in the long-term.

  • Maximizing federal IV-E funds for adoption assistance and reinvesting funds saved from the Fostering Connections Act of 2008 into post-permanency services
  • Empowering and supporting relative or kinship caregivers who are capable of providing children with permanency through adoption or guardianship
  • Strengthening supports available to youth who transition into independent living

Bridge to Independence

  • In 2013, the Unicameral passed LB 216 to extend supports and services until age 21 to youth who have “aged out” of the child welfare system. The Bridge to Independence program provides youth with Medicaid coverage, a monthly stipend to cover living expenses, and access to a caseworker to help them transition into adulthood.
  • 101 young adults were served from the start of the program in October 2014 through the end of 2014.

For more information about adoption in Nebraska, visit the state adoption homepage.

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